QUEENSLAND’S once vibrant racing industry is under serious threat if additional funds aren’t injected, according to Federal Shadow Minister for Trade Warren Truss.
The Nationals leader made the comments en-route to the Gold Coast’s Magic Millions today where he is expected to meet with industry leaders to discuss several issues affecting Queensland racing.
Truss is a third generation farmer from the Kumbia District near Kingaroy and says Queensland racing has ‘deteriorated’ over the last few years.
“It’s beyond question that the racing industry in Queensland has deteriorated under the Bligh government,” says Truss.
“It is less dominant and is falling greatly behind the industry in Sydney and Melbourne and this is obviously of considerable concern. Country racing is a shadow of what it once was with a reduced number of meetings and profile.”
The minister will meet with industry leaders and stud owners to raise concerns over the effect that open-cut coal mining could have on the racing industry.
While reaffirming the economic contribution mining has on the Australian economy in general, Truss says the damage to shared land has become a major concern.
“The investment that goes into the stud breeding industry often has greater long-term economic contribution than mining,” says Truss.
“These are all state decisions and like many issues that have wider significance, the State Government needs to make very careful decisions on how the land is used for the best purposes.”
Truss also backed earlier calls from Magic Millions part-owners Gerry Harvey and John Singleton for the Bligh government to better support the internationally recognised racing event.
“Magic Millions highlights the success of the Australian stud breeding industry and as the profile of the event remains strong, it needs to be given every opportunity to expand,” says Truss.
“I’m really looking forward to experiencing some of the event and meeting with some of the people to talk about the concerns for Queensland racing.”
Queensland Racing chairman Bob Bentley has confirmed the organisation would consider matching Harvey and Singleton’s US$5 million donated prize money.
Day three of the 2010 BMW Magic Millions yearling auctions kick off today with the year’s first $1 million dollar horse touted.
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